BOB: All-Star Game falloutby Brian Borawski
July 18, 2012
Bud Selig speaksThe All-Star Game took center stage last week, and as in years past, Bud Selig used it as a platform to give his version of the state of the union address. He seemed happy with both attendance this year as well as parity, and he also used this time as a platform to support (without much detail) new ballparks for the both the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays. Selig was more specific about the Athletics' situation, saying it was in his hands but that it's a complicated situation.
He said you can expect some expansion of instant replay, but that most people are against expanding it too much. The main concern Selig threw out was slowing down the game and that baseball is looking at a few more options like putting a fifth umpire in the replay booth to help speed things up. The commissioner also talked about the 2013 schedule when the Houston Astros move to the National League, and he said that he still plans to have a block of time where all teams are playing interleague games.
Selig wrapped things up with a discussion on the All-Star Game. The voting took an odd turn when three San Francisco Giants players stormed into first place in the closing days of voting, but Selig said (and I tend to agree) that there's no perfect system. He also touched on the All-Star Game determining home field in the World Series, and it looks like, for now, that is going to stick.
MLB dangles All-Star Game carrot in exchange for Wrigley Field renovationWhile new ballparks for the Athletics and Rays appear to be a priority, it also looks like Commissioner Selig is also trying to garner support for a wholesale renovation of historic Wrigley Field. The State of Illinois has nixed money for renovations, and last week I wrote about how the mayor of Chicago isn't returning the Chicago Cubs' calls, but now it appears Selig is promising that the Cubs will get an All-Star Game as soon as possible after the stadium is improved.
The team is looking for $500 million in renovations, with $300 million going into Wrigley Field and another $200 million for a building next to Wrigley. The team is looking for help with $150 million of that, and MLB is hoping that it can sway the city into thinking the financial impact from an All-Star Game will help offset the costs involved. With a lot of teams already in the queue for an All-Star Game, it looks like 2016 is the best year for it to happen, but that would normally be an American League year, so an exception would have to be made.
All-Star week rundownThe 2012 All-Star Game is in the books, and all things considered, it did pretty well. Kansas City's All-Star FanFest drew a little more the 119,000 fans, the fourth-highest total ever and a 7.5 percent increase from last year. Seven percent more viewers tuned in, and this was the biggest increase since 1998. In all, 27.7 million viewers tuned into the game. MLB.com had 124.5 million page views, and MLB At-Bat was accessed 2.6 million times for the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby, a jump of over 25 percent from last year.
Ballparks cashing in on international soccerInternational soccer is coming to the United States, and ballparks are looking to benefit from it. Yankee Stadium is hosting two games that are part of the World Football Challenge. Exhibition games also are going to be held at Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Citi Field and Rogers Centre.
The games at Yankee Stadium will be held when the Yankees are on the road. Like they do for concerts and other sports like college football, the Yankees are astute enough to run the numbers, and they must have seen a money-making opportunity here.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.